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British flag Big Ben London/AFP

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Britain’s state borrowing climbs in May

British flag Big Ben London/AFP

British flag Big Ben London/AFP

LONDON, June 20 – British state borrowing worsened in May, official data showed on Friday, coming in far higher than analysts had expected.

Public sector net borrowing, the government’s preferred measure of the deficit, rose to £13.3 billion ($22.7 billion, 16.7 billion euros) in February.

That compared with £12.6 billion in the same month of 2013, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

Market expectations had been for borrowing of about £11.8 billion, according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

However, the May 2013 figure was skewed by interest earned from the Bank of England’s quantitative easing programme of asset purchases, and also by receipts from Switzerland after a tax deal.

Without those exceptional factors, the data showed total current government receipts were broadly the same in May as they were in the corresponding month last year, while total current expenditure was flat.

“The public finances were essentially only stable year on year in May after stripping out all distorting effects,” noted IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer.

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